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THE VULNERABILITIES OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM COMMON DATA LINKS TO ELECTRONIC ATTACK

THE VULNERABILITIES OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM COMMON DATA LINKS TO ELECTRONIC ATTACK

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Published by sudeeplko
Unmanned Aircraft are fulfilling critical roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are integral
in base defense plans and the protection of key infrastructure. They enable commanders to monitor activity throughout their area of responsibility and direct action, when required. Many policymakers see Unmanned Aircraft Systems as a cost effective alternative to manned aircraft and a way to prevent risking a pilot’s life. These systems have a number of advantages over manned aircraft. They are unbound by human limitations. They can remain airborne for long durations, do not require life support systems, do not need to eat or sleep, and they will never say no to a mission. They may minimize friendly loss of life by conducting missions that have a minimal chance of survival. However, unmanned systems also have some disadvantages when compared to manned aircraft. They are still prone to human error due to their being flown by ground-based operators. Their development and procurement cost has grown exponentially as capabilities increase. Current systems are not autonomous and their control is contingent on uninterrupted communications. Their dependence on a constant control signal has contributed to a UAS accident rate 100 times greater than manned aircraft A threat could exploit this need for an uninterrupted data feed by using Electronic Warfare to disrupt this signal, potentially crippling unmanned systems.
Unmanned Aircraft are fulfilling critical roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are integral
in base defense plans and the protection of key infrastructure. They enable commanders to monitor activity throughout their area of responsibility and direct action, when required. Many policymakers see Unmanned Aircraft Systems as a cost effective alternative to manned aircraft and a way to prevent risking a pilot’s life. These systems have a number of advantages over manned aircraft. They are unbound by human limitations. They can remain airborne for long durations, do not require life support systems, do not need to eat or sleep, and they will never say no to a mission. They may minimize friendly loss of life by conducting missions that have a minimal chance of survival. However, unmanned systems also have some disadvantages when compared to manned aircraft. They are still prone to human error due to their being flown by ground-based operators. Their development and procurement cost has grown exponentially as capabilities increase. Current systems are not autonomous and their control is contingent on uninterrupted communications. Their dependence on a constant control signal has contributed to a UAS accident rate 100 times greater than manned aircraft A threat could exploit this need for an uninterrupted data feed by using Electronic Warfare to disrupt this signal, potentially crippling unmanned systems.

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Published by: sudeeplko on Mar 18, 2011
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 THE VULNERABILITIES OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM COMMON DATALINKS TO ELECTRONIC ATTACKA thesis presented to the Faculty of the U.S. ArmyCommand and General Staff College in partialfulfillment of the requirements for thedegreeMASTER OF MILITARY ART AND SCIENCEGeneral StudiesbyJAYSEN A. YOCHIM, MAJOR, US ARMYB.S., Weber State University, Ogden, Utah, 1998Fort Leavenworth, Kansas2010-01Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
 
 ii
REPORT DOCUMENTATION PAGE
Form Approved OMB No. 0704-0188 
 
Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 1 hour per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing datasources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing this collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or anyother aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing this burden to Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Services, Directorate forInformation Operations and Reports (0704-0188), 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington, VA 22202-4302. Respondents should be aware thatnotwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if it does not display a currently validOMB control number.
PLEASE DO NOT RETURN YOUR FORM TO THE ABOVE ADDRESS.
 
1. REPORT DATE
(DD-MM-YYYY)
 
11-06-2010
2. REPORT TYPE
Master’s Thesis
3. DATES COVERED
(From - To)
 
AUG 2009 – JUN 2010
4. TITLE AND SUBTITLE
The Vulnerabilities of Unmanned Aircraft System Common Data Linksto Electronic Attack 
5a. CONTRACT NUMBER5b. GRANT NUMBER5c. PROGRAM ELEMENT NUMBER6. AUTHOR(S)
MAJ Jaysen A. Yochim
5d. PROJECT NUMBER5e. TASK NUMBER5f. WORK UNIT NUMBER7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES)
U.S. Army Command and General Staff CollegeATTN: ATZL-SWD-GDFort Leavenworth, KS 66027-2301
 
8. PERFORMING ORG REPORTNUMBER9. SPONSORING / MONITORING AGENCY NAME(S) AND ADDRESS(ES) 10. SPONSOR/MONITOR’SACRONYM(S)11. SPONSOR/MONITOR’S REPORTNUMBER(S)12. DISTRIBUTION / AVAILABILITY STATEMENT
Approved for Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited
13. SUPPLEMENTARY NOTES14. ABSTRACT
Unmanned aircraft are fulfilling critical roles in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are integral in base defense plans andthe protection of key infrastructure. They enable commanders to monitor activity throughout their area of responsibility and direct action, when required. Many policymakers see Unmanned Aircraft Systems as a costeffective alternative to manned aircraft and a way to prevent risking a pilot’s life. These systems have a number of advantages over manned aircraft. They are unbound by human limitations. They can remain airborne for longdurations, do not require life support systems, do not need to eat or sleep, and they will never say no to a mission.They may minimize friendly loss of life by conducting missions that have a minimal chance of survival. However,unmanned systems also have some disadvantages when compared to manned aircraft. They are still prone tohuman error due to their being flown by ground-based operators. Their development and procurement cost hasgrown exponentially as capabilities increase. Current systems are not autonomous and their control is contingenton uninterrupted communications. Their dependence on a constant control signal has contributed to a UASaccident rate 100 times greater than manned aircraft A threat could exploit this need for an uninterrupted data feedby using Electronic Warfare to disrupt this signal, potentially crippling unmanned systems. 
15. SUBJECT TERMS
 
Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Unmannded Aerial Vehicles, Electronic Warfare, Jamming, Counter-UAV, Common Data Links
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Standard Form 298 (Rev. 8-98)
Prescribed by ANSI Std. Z39.18
 
 
 iiiMASTER OF MILITARY ART AND SCIENCETHESIS APPROVAL PAGEName of Candidate: Major Jaysen A. YochimThesis Title: The Vulnerabilities of Unmanned Aircraft System Common Data Links toElectronic Attack Approved by:, Thesis Committee ChairBill J. McCollum, Ed.D., MemberKenneth J. Riggins, M.S., MemberMajor Nicholas J. Martin, M.S.Accepted this 11th day of June 2010 by:, Director, Graduate Degree ProgramsRobert F. Baumann, Ph.D.The opinions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the student author and do notnecessarily represent the views of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College orany other governmental agency. (References to this study should include the foregoingstatement.)

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